State and local regulators said Wednesday they’ll consider an environmental review of the effects of a proposed terminal along the Columbia River in Washington that would export millions of tons of coal to Asia.
The review of the nearly $650 million Millennium Bulk Terminals project would consider impacts that extend beyond the site, including global-warming effects from burning the exported coal in Asia and rail impacts as coal is shipped by train throughout the state.
The announcement represents a victory for project opponents, who said the decision ensures that concerns over coal dust, greenhouse-gas emissions and rail traffic are addressed.
“It’s appropriate for such a massive project,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper.
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“It’s encouraging to see the agencies take to heart the deep public interest in protecting our communities.”
Some national and local business and labor groups criticized the broad scope, saying “cradle to grave” permitting isn’t justified and would have a chilling effect on trade and economic development.
The project, planned by Ambre Energy and Arch Coal, would handle up to 44 million metric tons of coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming at a terminal near Longview.
It’s one of three coal-export docks proposed for the Northwest.
The other projects are near Bellingham and Boardman, Ore.